Is there a way to check the potency of my herbs?

Question by Kemi: Is there a way to check the potency of my herbs?
I know herbal supplements are not regulated by the FDA so you dont know how much of the real stuff you are getting but is there any way to find out what the actual potency is of a supplement from a certain manufacturer? Or any experiments to determine this?

Best answer:

Answer by aspirit
The instrument you use to check the potency is your body. Plants are the source for herbs. Each plant grows in soil and depends on the nutrients of the soil to be healthy. A healthy plant will give you the maximum potency. A sick plant won’t be much help. You will have to do some research with the companies that you buy your herbs from. See if they buy the plants from a source out of the country. See if they grow their own plants. The best way to get full potency is to grow your own plants and harvest them. For this you will need to understand soil, climate, water, and seasons for that plant. Then you will need to learn which parts of the plant to harvest and how to dry it. Being an herbalist isn’t easy, but your will get much better results once you learn.

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1 thought on “Is there a way to check the potency of my herbs?

  1. If you are using supplements for health, you should notice if they do not work as well as they previously did. That is pretty much the only way to tell. This is the risk you take with non-regulated items, but it really no “risk” at all because these are products found in nature. When herbs “go bad” there is no danger-they just don’t work anymore. That is, if your supplements are made by filling gelatin capsules with ground herbs. If your supplements use fillers and preservatives, then you may have an issue where age could cause a problem with the additives. When man-made drugs “go bad” it is definitely dangerous because you could be putting a bad chemical into your body. However, the FDA has only been putting expiration dates on prescription and over-the-counter drugs for 20 or so years. Before that, the drugs were considered safe indefinitely. Now we are supposed to throw away our bottle at home after a year, even if it was taken out of a bottle at the pharmacy that still has two years left for its expiration date. Sounds like another way to make money to me. My former boss (a pharmacist) said that she and her husband (owner of a pharmacy and a pharmacist) take the expired Tylenol and ibuprofen home and use them because they aren’t concerned about safety-they just might not be as potent.

    Most sources say that culinary herbs are the best if used within a year from the purchase date. But, technically, there is no harm in using an herb that is older, it just might not be as strong tasting/smelling or as “potent” when it comes to medicinal efficiency. This is not a health risk.

    There are many ways to use and store herbs besides taking a pre-filled capsule from a bottle that you get from a health food store. You can buy your own herbs and make your own remedies. This way, you will know how old your herbs are. Herbal Tinctures (preserved in Alcohol, Glycerin, Honey, etc.) can last 1-2 years and you only have to take a small amount because the herbs are concentrated in the base. You can also drink teas. Herbs can be made into suppositories, ointments, losenges, douches, etc. Some herbs can be incorporated into your daily diet by sprinkling them into cereals and on your favorite foods.

    There are many ways to find out about your choices when it comes to supplementing your diet with herbs. We buy some pre-packaged supplements, but we also make our own remedies when they are needed. Here are some of my sources for herbal education:

    The How to Herb Book by Velma J.Keith and Monteen Gordon (so much info on herbs and how to make Tinctures, Salves, Teas, Poultices, Suppositories, etc.)
    The ABC Herbal by Steven H. Horn (herbal remedies for children and babies-this explains the way herbs work-they actually stimulate your body to heal itself!)
    The Herbal Body Book (A Natural Approach to Healthier Skin, Hair, and Nails) by Stephanie L. Tourles (recipes for natural soaps, shampoos, facial products, etc.)
    Herbal Antibiotics: Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug-Resistant Bacteria by Stephen Harrod Buhner (learn how to treat infections naturally) (to buy herbs in bulk and learn more about herbs in general)

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